Before children learn to read they need to develop their listening skills. Through an awareness of sounds around them, their auditory discrimination can be enhanced. This will aid them in hearing the difference between words and letter sounds. This is Phase One of the Letters and Sounds program that begins in Pre-Nursery and progresses through the Early Years. We explore and identify environmental sounds around us such as musical instruments, recorded sounds from home or sounds we hear outside for example birds or cars driving past. We make music using our body parts, such as clapping with our hands. We listen to many stories as books are very important to nurture our love of reading. Children’s stories contain rhyming words which help us to hear patterns in language. We are exposed to alliteration and make up nonsense words that begin with the same sound. We explore how words are constructed by clapping out the syllables and sounding out the letters. There are many games associated with this aspect of learning that children enjoy without being aware they are learning language skills.
In our Pre-Nursery Two, we have a sound den. This is an enclosed area with musical instruments, a box of recorded sounds and a sound wall with a variety of household objects which make soft and loud sounds when played. We enjoy making a variety of sounds in a variety of tones - soft and loud. We also play a lot of rhythm games such as body percussion where we encouraging children to use their hands, legs and feet to beat to the rhythm or copy a pattern.
Take some time out with your little one to lie on the grass outside, or at bedtime, and close your eyes and discuss what sounds you can hear. Finally, and by no means least, always read lots of books!